Thursday, December 20, 2012

10 Things to Keep in Mind with ADA Compliance

BOMA San Francisco Members:

BOMA’s ADA Guidebook is the most up–to–date and comprehensive analysis of the 2010 ADA regulations, unmatched by anything else in the marketplace, giving you the lowdown on what you need to know and how you should prepare.

Here are just 10 areas of construction/renovation that are affected by the 2010 ADA regulations:
  • Front and Side Reach Ranges 
    • New limits on counter heights and placement of elements such as faucets, towel and soap dispensers, water fountains, shelves, coat hooks, etc. 
  • Employee Work Spaces 
    • Increased accessible common use circulation paths 
  • Restrooms 
    • Increased turning spaces and clearances for wheelchair access 
  • Wheelchairs 
    • Wheelchairs must be permitted in all areas open to pedestrian use 
    • Increased wheelchair turning spaces and clearances – work spaces and restrooms 
  • Power-Drive Mobility Devices 
    • Devices like Segway®PT must be permitted in most cases 
  • Accessible Routes 
    • Must be located in same areas as exterior and interior general circulation paths 
  • Parking Garages 
    • All pedestrian direct connections to another facility must be accessible 
    • Additional van accessible spaces required 
  • Communication Services 
    • Video remote interpreting (VRI) and other auxiliary aids may be used to provide effective communication 
  • Service Animals 
    • Expanded coverage for individuals using dogs for specific tasks 
  • Fitness Centers, Exercise Rooms, Spas, Saunas and Swimming Pools 
    • Accessible routes, clear floor space for wheelchair equipment and facility access, and accessible pool entries/exits now required 
The ADA compliance deadline is here. Learn more about how the 2010 regulations affect your building with the Guide to the 2010 ADA Standards, brought to you by BOMA International, the folks who "wrote the book" on ADA compliance 20 years ago.

Need Help Understanding the 2010 ADA Regulations?

BOMA’s webinar, Understanding the 2010 ADA Building Codes and Standards, is now available 24/7 on–demand. Visit the BOMA Knowledge Portal for access to the ADA webinar as well as BOMA’s full menu of on–demand educational offerings.

10 Things to Keep in Mind with ADA Compliance

Have you scheduled alterations, renovations, tenant improvements or new construction in your building in the coming months? Did you know that your plans could be impacted by the 2010 ADA regulations – the first major update to the ADA since the regulation were first published in 1991? 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

UPDATE: New Signage Requirements for Privately Owned Public Open Spaces (POPOS)

Click to enlarge.  Image from SPUR's guide to POPOS

BOMA San Francisco Members:

UPDATE - December 19, 2012

Please note that Supervisor David Chiu's legislation updating the signage requirements for Privately-Owned Publicly Accessible Open Spaces (POPOS) has been enacted.

The measure updated signage controls, requiring additional information be provided about the POPOS and regulating the size, design, and content of the plaques. A new well-designed logo brands these POPOS to help the public understand the individual spaces as part of a larger network. Installing the plaque at every pedestrian entrance will direct the public to interior and rooftop spaces.


Beginning January 2013, the Planning Department Zoning and Compliance Division will begin reviewing POPOS sites that were approved subject to the Downtown Plan (darker green icons on this map) for compliance.  Property owners of POPOS that are not in compliance with signage AND other Conditions of Approval related to open space requirements will be notified followed by a courtesy compliance period. Following the courtesy period, POPOS that are not in compliance will be subject to further enforcement action which may result in penalties per Section 176 of the Planning Code.

Please click here for more information.  Please email your BOMA Advocacy Team at and if you have any questions or feedback.

UPDATE - October 22, 2012

Your BOMA San Francisco Advocacy team has been in communication with Board President Supervisor David Chiu’s office regarding legislation to update the signage requirements for Privately-Owned Publicly Accessible Open Spaces or POPOS. The measure was heard today and passed unanimously at the weekly meeting of the Land Use & Economic Development Committee.  It will now go to the Board of Supervisors for their consideration.

This legislation, if enacted, will not immediately affect existing POPOS signage. This has been accomplished via a reasonable approach to update the existing signs based on certain requirements. You can reference that information on page 15 of the current version of the measure, lines 15-22 [SEC 138 (i)(E)].  

If your property has a POPOS, please take a moment to review the new signage requirements, e.g., standardized height positioning, measurements, among others.

With regard to the contact information stipulation, SEC 138 (i)(A)(4) on page 14, a few BOMA members questioned the requirement to provide the email address of the person responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the open space.  Supervisor Chiu’s office and the Planning Department agreed to remove the email address at BOMA's request. Omitting the email address will allow the current code referencing the contacting information requirement to remain unchanged.

Please email your BOMA Advocacy Team at and if you have any questions or feedback.

Original Post - June 8, 2012

BOMA San Francisco Members -

The San Francisco Planning Department has approved an ordinance introduced by Supervisor David Chiu that would change the signage requirements for privately owned publicly accessible open spaces (POPOS).  The Board of Supervisors must still review and vote to approve the ordinance.

This San Francisco Examiner article summarizes the issue nicely.  As the article and the SPUR guide to POPOS details, many of the spaces are in or around BOMA San Francisco member buildings.

Please take a moment to review the Planning Department's Executive Summary of the planning code amendments, examples of current and possible updated signage requirements and send your feedback to Ken Cleaveland at and John Bozeman at

From the Executive Summary

The Way It Is Now

Privately-owned public open spaces (POPOS) are publicly accessible spaces in forms of plazas, terraces, atriums, small parks, and even snippets that are provided and maintained by private developers. In San Francisco, POPOS mostly appear in the Downtown office district area. Prior to 1985, developers provided POPOS under three general circumstances: voluntarily, in exchange for a density bonus, or as a condition of approval. The 1985 Downtown Plan created the first systemic requirements for developers to provide publicly accessible open space as a part of projects in C-3 Districts. The goal was to “provide in the downtown quality open space in sufficient quantity and variety to meet the needs of downtown workers, residents and visitors.The Downtown Plan also established guidelines that define eleven types of open spaces in Downtown. These guidelines prescribe detailed standards regarding each open space type size, location, access, seating, landscaping, food service, sunlight and wind, and public accessibility. Section 138 of the San Francisco Planning Code (herein after the “Code”) refers to these guidelines and establishes required amount of open space in C-3 Districts. It also regulates POPOS signage which is the focus of the proposed Ordinance. The Planning Department designed a customized plaque template for POPOS featuring a distinctive logo and required project sponsors to install the plaque at the space. However, while the Code specified what information to include in the plaque, it did not identify the location and the size of the plaque. As a result, many of these sites do not include proper informational signage, which has created a deficiency in informing the public about the existence of open space. Section 135 and 135.3 also provide provisions for POPOS in other Districts such as Downtown Residential and Eastern Neighborhood Mixed Use Districts. Some provisions in these two Sections regarding POPOS are not in consistence with provisions in Section 138.

The Way It Would Be

The proposed Ordinance would amend Section 138 to include more specific requirements and standards for the informational plaques of POPOS. In order to maintain consistency in the Code, Section 135 and 135.3 of the Code will also be amended to match the same standards.

UPDATE: CAPSS - Community Action Plan for Seismic Safety Meeting

BOMA San Francisco Members:

UPDATE - December 19, 2012

If you are interested in attending a CAPSS meeting, the next gathering will be on Monday, January 28, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at San Francisco City Hall, Room 34.  

BOMA San Francisco Codes and Regulations Committee member Will Grogan will be in attendance and will provide a report on the CAPSS meeting discussion at the February 27, 2013 Codes meeting.

Original Post - November 26, 2012 

The CAPSS/Earthquake Safety Implementation Program continues to work toward a more resilient San Francisco. Here is a very brief update on their activities:
  • Patrick Otellini appointed Director of Earthquake Safety
  • Soft-story building program final review
  • Private School Earthquake Safety Working Group progress
  • Upcoming CAPSS/Earthquake Safety Implementation Program Public Meeting

A Message from Laurence Kornfield

Dear Friends,

Big news! The Mayor has appointed Patrick Otellini to be San Francisco’s Director of Earthquake Safety. We are fortunate to have such a qualified and enthusiastic new Director. Patrick comes to the CAPSS/Earthquake Safety Implementation Program from the private sector where has spent over a decade working across the spectrum of San Francisco’s building community – he is intimately familiar with the City’s permit approval and inspection processes, building owner and user concerns, the pragmatic construction issues of costs, scheduling, and financing. He has been closely engaged in the CAPSS earthquake safety work, including serving as a committee chairperson on the 2010 Mayor’s Soft Story Task Force. Patrick, who will be working directly under City Administrator Naomi Kelly, brings passion, vitality and commitment to the position of Director of Earthquake Safety. I am thrilled that we are fortunate enough to get Patrick Otellini in this role.

I will continue to work on the CAPSS/Earthquake Safety Implementation Program (ESIP) both on our ongoing programs and as an advisor to Patrick and his staff, as we embark on our challenging 30-year implementation program. I am extraordinarily grateful to have Patrick join me in the leadership of our crucial earthquake safety programs. Patrick’s commitment, the overwhelming support of the City leadership, and your continued involvement mean that we will succeed in making San Francisco a safer and more resilient city.

With much thanks,

Laurence Kornfield

Click here to download the Mayor’s Office press release.

Soft-Story Building Final Review

All of the pieces are now in place to move forward with a program to dramatically improve the safety of many of San Francisco’s most hazardous buildings. Over the next few months the Earthquake Safety Working Group will work to determine the best ways in which to implement the proposed regulations for earthquake upgrade of vulnerable soft-story buildings, focusing on buildings having five or more dwelling units and three or more stories (ESIP Task A.3.a). Much of the groundwork for these regulations was laid under the 2010 Mayor’s Soft Story Task Force. The CAPSS team is looking forward to a collaborative, consensus-based effort to make San Francisco’s housing stock more resilient and safer. More details on this in the near future.

Private Schools Earthquake Safety

A Private Schools Earthquake Safety Working Group, under volunteer chairperson Laura Samant, is studying the technical and policy issues related to the earthquake risk of private schools in San Francisco, and will propose ideas for how the City may best address private school safety (ESIP Task A.6.f). The group is exploring challenging issues such as community expectation for school safety, evaluation of earthquake risk, and potential building improvement opportunities. A report on the findings of this Working Group is to be delivered to the City Administrator and the Mayor in late 2013. If you would like to receive information about the activities of the Working Group by email or to participate in the Working Group, please contact Micah Hilt,

The next meeting will be in City Hall, Room 370, on December 6, 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. Click here to download our notice to the private schools.

Upcoming CAPSS/Earthquake Safety Implementation Program Public Meeting

December 10, 11:00 a.m. until 1: 00 p.m. at City Hall, Room 370.

Please join the CAPSS team for an update on their many CAPSS/Earthquake Safety Implementation programs. This will be an opportunity to ask questions and to learn how you can get further involved in their activities.

Building Rating Systems

The CAPSS recommendations for improving San Francisco’s earthquake resilience were founded on an ability to evaluate or rate building earthquake performance and to effectively communicate about building performance with the public (ESIP Task A.6.h). Building rating systems for buildings of all types, from older homes to new high rises, are now being developed. The CAPSS/Earthquake Safety Implementation Program staff is working with the groups preparing these rating systems to assure that proposed rating systems will meet San Francisco’s needs. Expect to see one or more rating system proposals within the next few months.

Update to the Community Safety Element Adopted

The Board of Supervisors, following the lead of the Planning Commission, unanimously adopted an update to the Community Safety Element of San Francisco’s General Plan that incorporates many earthquake resilience goals, including those outlined in the CAPSS work. Thank much to Planning Department and Department of Emergency Management staff for their help in preparing this document.

Shelter-in-Place and Neighborhood Support Center update

The Shelter-in-Place and the related Neighborhood Support Center concepts focus on keeping San Franciscans in their homes, in their neighborhoods, and informed and supported after an earthquake. This will empower communities, reduce the demand for emergency housing, and facilitate a more rapid recovery. The Department of Emergency Management, SF SAFE, the Neighborhood Empowerment Network, SPUR, CAPSS/Earthquake Safety Implementation Program and many other groups and agencies have worked together to prepare demonstration programs, work which is actively continuing (ESIP Task A.4.b). More details on this coming soon!

A few of the other CAPSS/ Earthquake Safety Implementation Program programs underway:

  • Demonstration of one- and two-family home earthquake improvements (ESIP Task A.6.b)
  • Focus on earthquake improvements for economically-disadvantaged San Franciscans (ESIP Task A.6.e)
  • Provide information and assistance about renter’s insurance and other insurance (ESIP Task A.1.b)

Thank you for your continued support of CAPSS and our Earthquake Safety Implementation Program.

Laurence Kornfield
Special Assistant to the City Administrator

Patrick Otellini
Director of Earthquake Safety

Micah Hilt
Earthquake Safety Implementation Program

 Click to follow the CAPSS Program on Facebook!

UPDATE: Tenant Bicycle Access in Existing Commercial Buildings Law

BOMA San Francisco Members:

UPDATE - December 19, 2012

Our members' work with the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition on the Tenant Bicycle Access in Existing Commercial Buildings Ordinance was recently mentioned in The Atlantic.


UPDATE - August 30, 2012

The Department of Environment has published  information regarding the Tenant Bicycle Access in Existing Commercial Buildings Ordinance online.  Click here to access the webpage.  Click here to access the Bicycle Access Plan form.

If you would like to file for a qualified exemption under the law, the DOE is still developing that form.  Feel free to contact the Department for questions regarding exemptions and the process to file for one until the online form is available.

Our Department of Environment partners can be reached at (415) 355-3727 or


UPDATE - June 7, 2012

Your BOMA Advocacy Team held a conference call with the staff of the San Francisco Department of Environment (DOE), the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and Supervisor John Avalos' office this afternoon.  The purpose of the call was to discuss the development of the Bicycle Access Plan (BAP) as required by the Tenant Bicycle Access in Existing Commercial Buildings Law and clarifications to DOE guidelines.  BOMA thanks all of the stakeholders for their time today.

Once the BAP has been approved by the DOE, your BOMA Advocacy Team will publish it on the blog, the website and our social media channels for you to fill out and distribute to your tenants.   At that time, we will also include instructions  on notifying your tenants of this new law and the availability of the BAP.

Supervisor Avalos is planning to introduce follow-up legislation to amend language in the current law.  Specifically, references to planning code sections that will be updated by the Planning Department this year and to remove references to subtenants - all stakeholders have agreed that this legislation is intended for only commercial building tenants of record that request bicycle parking.

We published the 'next steps' for BOMA members, below, on the blog recently.  Please take a moment to re-review this information as some of it has been updated:

What are the next steps for BOMA San Francisco Members?

Please click here to access a FAQ sheet to review what this ordinance now requires of commercial building owners and managers.  BOMA members (and non-BOMA members) will, at a tenant’s request, now have to:
  • Allow bicycles to be brought into the tenant space/or into a bike room on site for tenant employees only.
    • A building owner and manager will have to allow bicycles in the building without restriction (e.g., no prescription on path of travel, elevator use), but if they choose to restrict full access in anyway, they must fill out a Bicycle Access Plan (BAP)  provided by San Francisco Department of Environment. The form does not have to be submitted to the City. NOTE: as previously mentioned, the San Francisco Department of Environment is currently developing the BAP. 
      • For example, if a building owner and manager chooses to restrict bicycle access to a secure bike room they must detail the location of the parking area and access to it in a BAP.
  • OR a building owner and manager can fully restrict bicycle access to the building based specific exceptions as detailed in the new law.  
    • If the building owner wants to file an exception to bicycle access to the building, there are two allowable exceptions in the law: 1) building elevators not available due to unique safety risks or 2) alternate no-cost secure parking is available within a prescribed distance.  More details in the ordinance. 
    • The Department of Environment will have to review and approve an exception application based on recommendation from - referencing the aforementioned exceptions - 1) The San Francisco Department of Building Inspection (SFDBI) OR 2) the San Francisco Municipal Transpiration Agency. 
      • NOTE: There may be a fee for the SFDBI to conduct an inspection assessed the building owner or manager requesting the exemption.  
The new law does not require building owners to build a bike room or dedicate a specific space for bicycle parking. It allows the tenant’s employees to bring their bikes inside their rented space or provide an alternative.  If a building owner chooses to build a bike room, this legislation does not prohibit charging a reasonable fee for use.

If you have any questions please contact John Bozeman at or (415) 686-9652 x 116.  Our Department of Environment partners can be reached at (415) 355-3727 or

Friday, December 14, 2012

How to Finance Energy Improvements in Commercial Buildings in California with PACE

BOMA San Francisco Members:

With the launch of CaliforniaFIRST, financing energy improvements in commercial buildings are now more attractive.  Indeed, about 70% of California is now covered by a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program for the commercial building sector. These innovative financing mechanisms can help unlock capital for energy saving projects, including solar and energy efficiency retrofits.

An upcoming webinar is designed to help commercial building owners and energy contractors better understand how the PACE programs work.
  • Case study of success -- Rich Chien of GreenFinanceSF will present a case study of a recently completed $1.4 million upgrade to Prologis’s HQ on Pier 1 in San Francisco. 
  • CaliforniaFIRST program mechanics -- Simon Bryce of Renewable Funding (the program administrator) will outline how the process works and who can participate. 
  • Financing -- Derek Brown of Clean Fund will provide details of the financing: what is the value proposition? How to get lender consent? Why is PACE is attractive to building owners?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013
10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. PST

To register:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

BOMA International Advocacy Update - The Fiscal Cliff Negotiations Continue

The Fiscal Cliff

With just over two weeks until the end of the year, the Republicans and President Obama have yet to reach an agreement that many believe will help avert a significant economic downturn or, in common parlance, the fiscal cliff. Without an agreement, it is believed that the combination of tax increases and spending cuts that could go into effect would be the catalyst to another recession in 2013.

BOMA International continues to be concerned about these negotiations, as they impact the commercial real estate industry and the overall economy.  BOMA also continues to advocate for further extension of the recently expired 15–year leasehold depreciation provision. With Congress poised to address comprehensive tax reform beginning next year that likely will be a multi–year effort, failure to act on the extenders this year could lead to additional uncertainty on the fate of these more short–term, yet important, measures.

Visit BOMA’s Legislative Action Center and tell Congress to pass extension of the 15–year leasehold depreciation provision.

Friday, December 7, 2012

SFMTA Accessible Parking Policy Advisory Committee


BOMA San Francisco Members:

BOMA San Francisco's Government and Public Affairs Committee (GAPAC) member Jeff Spicker with Parking Concepts Inc. will volunteer his time and expertise as BOMA's representative on the SFMTA Accessible Parking Policy Advisory Committee.  Mr. Spicker will provide updates on the group's discussions and actions to members of the GAPAC when warranted.

The Accessible Parking Policy Advisory Committee will review and make recommendations regarding on-street accessible parking policies, including those governing disabled placards and blue zones. These issues affect access and mobility for people with disabilities in San Francisco, whether they travel by car, paratransit, or public transit.

Accessible parking policies affect all transportation in the city: when parking is crowded, drivers circle the block and double-park, congesting the streets, slowing transit, and decreasing pedestrian safety. When parking is difficult to find, access is reduced, especially for those with disabilities.

To improve access, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) would like to assess and improve how it manages accessible parking. The problem of too much demand for too few spaces is critical: San Francisco has 29,200 metered on-street parking spaces but 60,750 disabled placards have been issued in San Francisco as of November 2012, with an additional 453,830 issued in the surrounding eight Bay Area counties. With these numbers, it is important to gather stakeholders to assess accessible parking policies and consider solutions.

Please click here to review the Accessible Parking Policy Advisory Committee summary.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Transbay Transit Center Upcoming Community Meeting: Transbay Construction Activities

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Excavation of the Transbay Transit Center site is moving forward ad the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) would like to invite you to come to their next community meeting to see what's taking place. 

Join them on Wednesday, December 19, 2012 to learn more about construction activities, mass excavation and internal bracing, temporary bridges, street closures, hours of activity, and the fast approaching end of the buttress shoring wall construction. The community meeting will be held from 12:00 Noon until 1:00 p.m. at the TJPA’s offices located at 201 Mission Street, Suite 2100. They welcome you to bring food or drinks to this meeting.

What: Community Meeting: Transbay Construction Update 
When: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 
Time: 12:00 Noon 
Where: Transbay Joint Powers Authority 
201 Mission Street, Suite 2100 
San Francisco, CA 94105 

For more information about the Transbay Transit Center Project or to sign up to receive construction updates, visit

San Francisco HOPE Director Bevan Dufty Speaks to BOMA San Francisco Members

BOMA San Francisco Members,

Former District 8 San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty spoke to the members of BOMA San Francisco's Government and Public Affairs Committee (GAPAC) recently.  Mayor Ed Lee appointed Mr. Dufty in 2012 as the Director of Housing Opportunity, Partnerships and Engagement (HOPE).

As Director of HOPE, Mr. Dufty will lead the City and County of San Francisco's efforts to help those in need.   Click here to read a HOPE Status Report detailing Mr. Dufty's vision for HOPE.